aka 鐵血嬌娃 aka Five-Star General aka 五星上將 aka The Five aka 5星上將
Written by Fu Huayang and Xu Shalang
Directed by Fu Huayang
Break out the pillows, because Angel Warriors will cure your sleep disorders. In fact, you might find yourself reflecting at how you are wasting your brief time here on planet Earth watching something that’s a complete mess of a film. But maybe you’ll then be motivated to go out and achieve something, lest watching Angel Warriors end up your final act.
Angel Warriors began life as Five-Star General, which we actually reported on in 2011, though it sounded completely different and I didn’t even realize this was the same film! But true to my word, I checked it out and now regret saying I would look into it. The two year turnaround to get a release hints at the problem the completed film had. And there are a lot of problems. It is time to address them in list format, because that is efficient, and we’re all about efficiency at TarsTarkas.NET, a site that regularly has rambling reviews that never get to the point. Wait a minute, ignore that last part!
Cinematic Crimes Angel Warriors is guilty of:
- Angel Warriors is a white savior movie, except the white savior is five Chinese women in midriff-bearing jungle gear, thus it’s class savior!
- I can’t count the number of times the film used the phrase “five famous women backpackers” or even “five famous women backpackers from Mainland China”, but it was a lot.
- Five famous women backpackers wisdom: Don’t throw down lit cigarette butts, it might start a fire! But leaving a bunch of random trash around in the jungle is totally cool.
- Five famous women backpackers wisdom: Walk super close together on steep hills, so everyone will fall into each other in a giant pile of writhing bodies that get wrapped in vines and thorns.
- Five famous women backpackers leader Bai Xue(Yu Nan) is a CEO and motorcyclist
- Five famous women backpackers member Ah Ta(Mavis Pan Shuang-Shuang) is an “animal rescue” person, which means she will constantly find tiger cubs randomly in the jungle.
- Five famous women backpackers member Yan Yan(Hu Mengyuan) has a job of dancing on top of a bar, which means she’s naturally a kung fu fighter.
- Five famous women backpackers member Tong Tong(Wu Jingyi) is an archeologist, which means she’ll be constantly holding artifacts that she’s brushing off.
- Five famous women backpackers member Ding Dang(Wang Qiuzi) sells clothes on the internet and is only in the group because she’s Bai Xue’s cousin.
- Four of the famous women backpackers members pack their swimsuits so they can jump in random streams and splash each other. Bai Xue only doesn’t join in because of her forced in love story
- Never fear, those Chinese women are much lighter skinned than the Thai people they save, who are depicted as dark-skinned face-painted spear-chucking jungle warriors only lacking a bone in their nose.
- In fact, Angel Warriors is but one of many films that have racist depictions of Thailand, as the jungles o Thailand are used as a location of mysterious dark arts. Even some Thai films feature modern city dwellers heading to the countryside where they encounter traditional spirit/animal horrors. That this trend continues speaks some unspoken words about to Sino-Thai relations
- Bai Xue has a forced-in love story with Wang Laoying(Collin Chou/Ngai Sing), complete with flashbacks to her dead brother and Wang Laoying making a promise to look after her, thus love.
- The massive overuse of CGI effects, including CGI tigers and CGI spears landing like someone is firing a machine gun loaded with spears, is incredibly annoying.
- The villains are genocidal businessmen who kill tribespeople and CGI tigers for mining interests, when it would probably be far easier to just bribe the Thai government to move the tribespeople.
- The story is rather close to Avatar, including outsiders joining the tribe and becoming better warriors than the people who have been doing it all their lives, military action against natives for mining rights, and noble savages defeating the invaders and their technology (with help from the white/class saviors!)
- Features a stepson who kills his millionaire dad to inherit the business with “you’re not my real father!” Not only is the villain evil, but he’s brought down by someone who isn’t even his child, having his family line and business hijacked. It’s weird genetic xenophobia in the middle of a film that has its own racial xenophobia
- The villains machine gun a CGI tiger.
- The villains shoot a monkey.
- A tiger uses kung fu to punch a wing off of a plane
- The narration is in English to appeal to an international audience, except it’s really in Engrish and they didn’t bother to even consult with anyone who is a native speaker. The narration that we get is too difficult to understand and becomes incredibly annoying.
- The film underwent radical changes from when it was filmed in 2011, the resulting chopshop effort is why they have to rely on narration to explain things (which doesn’t work because you don’t know what the heck he’s saying)
- The idiot Thai guy who leads the villains to his tribe and causes dozens of deaths becomes a hero who marries the warrior princess of the Thai tribe(Wang Danyi Li), and basically tells us he’s going to turn her into a baby factory to rebuild the tribe with him in charge.
- Part of Angel Warriors‘s score sounds like a bugle playing Taps, which is appropriate, playing to the death of this film.
Angel Warriors is unfortunately not fun enough to be entertaining, instead it’s just annoying. That’s actually the greatest crime of all. If your film is destined to be terrible, make it entertaining terrible. Go all out. Go for broke. This could have been an awesome fun film with women running around in the jungle beating bad people if they had dumped most of the tribe stuff (you can even keep Xing Yu as someone’s boyfriend because when he’s fighting and not speaking English, he’s cool!), maybe change the goal so it’s treasure, and have the different girls’ skills help with different situations.
But, no. We got what we got, and it’s a shame. Angel Warriors won’t be going to Heaven anytime soon.
Rated 1/10 (future dead monkey)
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